We are delighted to announce our programme for Hinterland at the Mechanics' Institute, San Francisco.
Tickets will be on sale soon.
More than half of the plays produced last year on Broadway and London’s West End were adaptations. The art of dramatizing someone else’s novel, memoir, collection of short stories, poems, or in some cases movies, has never been more commercially and critically popular. Once dismissed as a derivative practice, adaptation is now widely recognized as its own art form with its own history and craft technique. In this one-hour lecture and discussion, playwright and professor Matthew Spangler will talk about his many stage plays, a number of which are either adaptations of literature or dramatizations of historical events.
Members $15 Public $20
Building on the lessons offered in the first class (see above), this two-hour master class will focus on the writing mechanics of transforming a prose-based literary work into a stage play. Matthew Spangler will also discuss copyright concerns and strategies for gaining permission to adapt another’s work. Participants will have the opportunity to try their hand at creating their own adaptation and are encouraged to bring along a short text or portion of a longer text they might want to adapt.Members $49; Public $59
Elizabeth Creely, San Francisco resident and Irish-American historian, conducts a walking tour of the historic Mission District. While it is now primarily identified with the city’s Hispanic community, in times past, it was home to thousands of 19th Century, ‘two boat’ Irish immigrants to the far West. Meeting at 2901 Mission St (25th St. and Mission St.).Free of charge
Filmmaker Geordie Lynch tells the epic tale of how the discovery of silver in 1859 transformed San Francisco from a mining boomtown into a world-class metropolis. Geordie’s presentation intersperses video clips from his documentary film-in-progress “City of White Gold” with a fascinating account of four Irishmen from humble origins who challenged the most powerful bank in the West for control of the mineral-rich Comstock Lode.$10
Irish historian and broadcaster Myles Dungan on ‘How to Keep Great Irish Women Down (temporarily)’ - a tongue-in-cheek survey of Irish ‘alpha’ males from Charles Stewart Parnell to the prurient and relentless Roman Catholic Archbishop John Charles McQuaid.
Daniel Cassidy was a much-loved musician, and academic who ran the Irish Studies programme at New College, San Francisco up to the time of his death in 2008.
Kells-based artist (via the far less chic location of Paris) will discuss the first decade of a unique project combining type, linguistics, art installation, and lots of walking. The annual Kells Type Trail - a multilingual extravaganza of creative design based on the Irish love of words and a multiplicity of fonts - is a concept destined for world domination, one neighbourhood / town / city at a time. Mark will be in conversation with Irish broadcaster Deirdre Hurley.
How the Clash met the Clancy Brothers and gave birth to the Pogues, and what strange Fairy Tales of New York followed. Jim Lockhart – the legendary Horslips Celtic-rock multi-instrumental frontman, long-time music producer, and all-round good egg, offers his take on the development of a raucous and legendary corner of recent Irish popular music history.
James Joyce arrived in Paris to study medicine in 1902, with orders from his parents to return home for Christmas. A discouraging start to what became an extraordinary relationship between man and city. In James Joyce and the Matter of Paris, UC Berkeley Professor of English, Catherine Flynn, explores Joyce’s interaction with the city where Ulysees was published in 1922. In conversation with playwright Matthew Spangler.
Broadcaster Brian Murphy is almost as well-known to Irish sports fans as to San Franciscans. He is the sage and erudite ‘US Murph’ of the Second Captains podcast. As well as four hours a day ‘on air’ on KNBR Radio’s ‘Murph and Mac’ morning show he somehow finds time to write books! Six so far, three devoted to the exploits of the World Series-winning Giants of 2010, 2012 and 2014. He will be in conversation with fellow (transatlantic) Giants’ nut, Irish journalist Myles Dungan.
Emer Martin, is a true renaissance woman (adult writer, children’s writer, artist, filmmaker). Her fourth novel, The Cruelty Men, was nominated for Irish Novel of the Year 2019, and was described by Irvine Welsh as ‘a tidal wave that drags you like a piece of debris through Irish history’. It is an unsentimental, multi-generational saga of the dark days in Ireland from the 1930s to the 1960s when the unholy Trinity of Rome, rum and reaction held sway in a frightened state. In conversation with Hinterland director Tony Bucher.
The UK has a Halloween appointment with destiny. If that manifests as a ‘no deal’ implosion, Boris’s trick is unlikely to be Ireland’s treat. Ireland’s San Francisco Consul General Robert O’Driscoll, Derryman Matt Regan (Senior VP Government Relations with the BAYAREA Council) and Irish journalist and historian Myles Dungan, discuss the implications for Ireland of a potential ‘crash out’ UK exit from the European Union.$15
The theatrical adaptation sessions of Matt Spangler (The Kite Runner) have become a feature of the Hinterland (Kells) festival. This time it’s slightly different in that Matt only has to travel from Mountain View to explain how he would approach adapting Liz Nugent’s chiller Lying in Wait (‘crackles and snaps like a bonfire on a winter’s night’ – A.J.Finn). Liz will be looking on, so no pressure really.
With her debut novel Unravelling Oliver mystery writer Liz Nugent made a spectacular entrance onto the Irish and international literary stage. She followed up with Lying In Wait and Skin Deep, and her books have all been number one bestsellers. She has been long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award and is a frequent winner at the Irish Book Awards. Liz was named ‘Irish Woman of the Year’ in Literature in 2017. She will be in conversation with Irish broadcaster and journalist Deirdre Hurley.
Mary Manning, knew virtually nothing about apartheid in South Africa when, at the age of 21, she carried out a directive of her union and refused to ‘ring up’ the sale of two Outspan oranges. She was suspended by Dunne’s Stores and nine of her co-workers walked out in support, thus becoming central figures in a prolonged strike. Mary Manning, co-author of Striking Back: The Untold Story of an Anti-Apartheid Striker. Mary will be in conversation with dramatist Matthew Spangler.
Glen Gendzel, San Jose State University historian, looks at the rollercoaster career of Tom Maguire, son of New York Irish pre-Famine immigrants. Maguire was an illiterate taxi driver when he joined the California Gold Rush. He then rose to the top of the theater business in boomtown San Francisco, making and losing several fortunes in the process, before (spoiler alert!) he eventually went bankrupt and fled back to New York.
Irish music – where it has come from, how it's been developing, why Sinéad (O’Connor of course) sings sean-nós, and how Horslips fit into the story. The second instalment of Irish musical legend, Jim Lockhart’s musings on the ‘Long March’ of modern Irish popular music, and on the part played in the revolution by those maestros of Celtic Rock, the five Horsemen of the Apocalypse, better known as Horslips.$15
The scientist, broadcaster, Trinity College, Dublin Professor, and winner of the prestigious Boyle Medal for scientific research, is a passionate and radical advocate for imaginative and immediate measures to mitigate the current climate crisis. The title of his talk suggests the most likely outcome of our continued procrastination.
What do you do if you don’t like public speaking and you have to speak in public? You hide in a closet, right? Not if you’re Dave Nihill. Instead you learn to be a stand-up comedian. You keep at it until you win one of the most prestigious US comedy competitions. You give a TED talk about it, then you pass it all on in a best-selling book Do You Talk Funny? Join us for some inspired Nihill-istic lunacy from one of Ireland’s funniest gifts to the USA.$15
As well as being an accomplished novelist – her 2017 debut, The Weight of Him was a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book – Ethel Rohan is also a master of that very Irish (and Russian, and American) format, the short story. She has two well-received short story collections to her credit (Goodnight Nobody and Cut Through the Bone). Ethel will in conversation with Hinterland director Tony Bucher.
Kellie Hughes (Irish theatre director) and Matt Spangler (The Kite Runner) discuss their stage adaptation of Mary Manning’s saga of her role in the 1984 anti-Apartheid supermarket produce strike (see above), a creative process that began at Hinterland (Kells) in 2018, and moved forward with a rehearsed reading at the 2019 Hinterland Festival, which drew a standing ovation from an appreciative audience, Mary Manning herself amongst them.$15
In 2017, the town of Kells inherited a mothballed printing works in which lurked some rare and precious 19th century offset machines. They are now at the centre of The Printworks (a Mark Smith project) where 21st century types (pun intended) will come to learn and love 19th century technology. Mark will be joined onstage by Dr. Kathleen A. Walkup, Professor in Book Art at Mills College, Oakland, and an occasional blogger at New Irish Journal.$10